Tiffany: Back at the end of March, Tim and I went on a prayer retreat. Certain seasons in our lives were ending and we were sort of at a crossroads – or maybe more like it was clear God was opening the door and leading us into something new. After years with the vision to start a missional movement, was this the time? If so, would it be in Clarksville or somewhere else? Learning from past experiences of launching out on our own initiative, there was one thing we knew for sure: we weren’t about to do anything without first seeking God, asking what He was up to, what He was wanting. We wanted to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into that. So we got away for a couple of days to just pray.
The Prayer Retreat…
It’s morning, and we decide it best to split up first. We each go to our own quiet spot to be with God with no plan of when to end. We just wanted to be with Him as long as needed. I lost track of time, but it ended up being several hours. During my time with the Father there were some personal things He was pressing into, as well as some time to just be in awe of Him and allow His sweet presence to fill me. I had lots of questions for Him too. What are we to do? Where? With who? What next? I did get the sense that it was going to be something bigger than what I was imagining. But each time I pressed for details, you know what He kept telling me?
“I’m giving those details to Tim and you need to trust him with that.”
Tim: Going off for several hours by myself to pray is not my idea of an exciting time. As an extrovert, I don’t do well with alone time (unless I have a killer book to read). Turns out, this prayer retreat was a pleasant surprise. Not only did I have a really life giving encounter with the Father, He spoke some very specific things to me about what was next for us. First, he said “I want you to go to Nashville.” There were a few times we went to Nashville and I felt God stirring some things in me about the city. However, up until that point, it was still a question mark. I did not want to move unless God was leading us. I had been waiting for a long time to hear him speak into this area of our lives. I then asked him “When do you want us to go?” I felt like he told me “mid-October.”
After several hours of prayer and worship, I walked outside and found Tiffany to see if she was finished with her time. We met back together and discussed what we heard from God. We were both excited, and somewhat shocked. We had been waiting for this kind of revelation from God for a long time, and now he finally spoke to us about what was next. To be honest, it was a bit surreal. One thing was for sure, our hearts were starting to be filled with expectation.
The funny thing about all of this, is that neither one of us knew hardly anything about Nashville. It was only later that we began to learn about what a significant opportunity Nashville is for the kingdom.
Hi! This is Tiffany. First, we’d like to share a little of our journey that brings us to this point of being sent to Nashville. If you know Tim very well, you know he is always coming up with new ideas. While I do love that about him…after 13 years of marriage…he has learned NOT to share ALL of those ideas with me. So now when he comes to me with an idea, he is at least somewhat serious. About five years ago he started talking about his longing to plant a church. Really, his vision is more to start a missional movement. He’s a go-getter so the more he talked about it the more quickly I attempted to prepare myself to jump in. Little did I know that it would be 4 years later before we would start to get any further direction in such a venture.
I would consider myself to be a fairly patient person, but four years is a long time to wait. I know many have waited much longer for many things and after this time that we’ve had, my heart goes out to you. Honestly, the first couple of years I spent mostly confused and lonely, wondering if this was even what God would have planned for us next. What excitement I had mustered up in the beginning had worn off quickly. Even though we knew what we were supposed to do… the who, the when, the where was all very fuzzy. We looked into and even visited potential cities and talked to anyone open to listening. Tim is great at exploring possibilities and every possible door we checked out ended up shutting on us.
One thing is for sure, these past few years God has been refining us. He gave us a break from leading for a while. Pruning after pruning has occurred allowing new growth to occur. We’ve learned too much to explain in a blog post, but here are some examples. I remember time after time God’s love for me hitting me so strong and it was at times when I was basically feeling useless for any Kingdom purposes. I couldn’t get a feeling of acceptance from leading or even serving in ministry because I wasn’t doing any of that as I have most of my life. It became clear that He just wanted me to BE with Him and allow Him to love me. I realized the importance of constantly relying on His power and guidance because even my best is not enough in some situations. A similar theme that Tim mentioned he had learned was that relationship with God is more important than being on mission for God. We also spent the majority of this time meeting with the Clarksville Vineyard Christian Fellowship. One of their strengths is engaging the Holy Spirit in natural and humble ways. We’ve grown a lot in this area by being around and learning from them.
I started to realize about halfway through this waiting time just how important such a time would be for what God was planning for us next. As we have longed for more of the Father, continued to learn from the life of Jesus, and opened ourselves to the Spirit’s work in us, we have been transformed. This next season will hold many challenges but we feel like God has and will continue to equip and empower us for the task. We are approaching this time ahead with full expectation that the Holy Spirit will guide us in each step we take. In a post coming up we will share a story of a way He has done so already!